crab apple

Thursday, October 30, 2008

crab apples displayed on the index pages of a vintage paperback atlas

A project for this evening is preparing these crimson beauties for jelly. Growing up, Crab apple jelly was always a staple condiment on our dinner table and over the years I have longed to have a jar or two of this beautiful deep pink jelly stashed away in my pantry. This year I put the word out that I was on the hunt for crab apples and I was rewarded a few weeks back with a cardboard box full, delivered to my front porch by my friend Harry.

crab apple jelly

Wash apples, remove blossom end, halve and remove stems. Barely cover fruit with water and cook until very soft. Extract the juice by tying the apples in cheesecloth and suspending over a bowl until it no longer drips. Do Not Squeeze! Boil 8 cups juice with 6 cups sugar (3/4 cup sugar per cup of juice) to the jelly (use thermometer). Optional: Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or lemon juice. Pour into hot, sterile jelly jars and seal. Note: It's best to keep the batches around 8 cups.

How easy does that sound ?

some good news - my first two cords of wood arrived yesterday dumped in my front yard. I am so into frugality this fall/winter (what with the cost of heating oil) that I'm actually thrilled at the prospects of putting my own wood in (with some help from this Sunday's garden elves). I had a small amount of wood left over this year and I've so enjoyed having fire's already in my fireplace insert (like a wood stove with a fan that fits in your fireplace opening- a bit homely but sure helps heat this old brick house). I love being warm and toasty and it's a great incentive to be pitching logs.

Some bad news - I need a new oil tank, 1000.00. A drag, but I knew it was coming. My oil tank, which is in my basement, is and has been increasingly rusty and this year when the furnace/boiler tune up guy arrived for our annual service call he gave me the final diagnosis. New tank required.

More good news - apparently I have a beautiful boiler (this old house is heated by hot water - cast iron radiators) the best he's seen in his maintenance travels this season. Wow. Do you service it each year ? he asks me and I reply I sure do. That's the reason he tells me, your boiler is in fantastic shape ! I blush and glow a little with pride. I kid not. As I get older I am constantly amazed at the things in life that can thrill me.

Just plain lavender & bubbles this morning avec rain and cooler temperatures.


  1. Hi Susan,

    Tonight I was so disgruntled I had to get out of this house. I stomped up to the cafe, a ten minute walk, and bought my self a sweet treat to take the edge off my mood. They put my treat in a little white paper bag for me and I walked home, still replaying my repetitive, annoying thoughts in my mind. As I neared the end of the path to my house, somehow a new thought came to me.

    'Be in The Moment'

    And then I was. I was there, on the path. The pink blossom tree was in front of me, the blossoms lightly bobbing up and down in the breeze. A tungsten glow was seeping out of the neighbour's window, casting curious night shadows all about. And there was I, having a moment in The Moment.

    AND all that frustration just slipped away. Honestly! I really feel like a magic wand has been waved.

    So, thank you, dear Susan for enforcing that belief about being in the moment in my mind. Hope you're proud of me : )

    You certainly do deserve that glow of pride for keeping your boiler in tip top shape. That'll be a good house selling point ay?

    What exactly is a boiler anyway? Something to do with heating I guess. Scary movies often seem to have a 'boiler room' in them.


  2. PS

    Wow that was a long comment.

    I forgot to say I ate my treat when I got inside. It was good. But the point was I didn't NEED to treat myself to sugar to get out of that state of mind, I was able to use my mind to change my state of mind. A revelation.

  3. Hey Pherenike, I'm just back from my early morning "in the moment" walk along sand bars and sea walls with my girl Winnie ... and how lovely to have your fantastic long comment waiting for me. What a treat for me !
    Merci mon ami !

    Furnaces's heat with hot air and Boilers (boil, I suspect) hot water. Never thought about that before now.

    Sleep tight. xo S & the gang

    ps. Hate to harp but have you read or listened to Eckhart Tolle ? amazing stuff. I'll email you the link.

  4. Willow Manor has a boiler, too. But we switched over from the tank thing and hooked up to the gas line about ten years ago. I finally broke down and turned the heat on last week.

  5. Susan, you have finally convinced me. I am going to look into Eckhart Tolle and Oprah's Soul Series. I have been feeling "rudderless" and lost and sad recently, and I think I need to learn to "be in the moment".
    I've been wanting to write about it on my blog, but just can't find the words. So many blog writers (you included) are so eloquent in expressing their feelings, but I have not been able to do that. I appreciate the things you have shared.

  6. Oh, those crab apple photos are beautiful. I've never had crab apple jelly but I've always loved crab apple trees.

    My original wood guy left me hanging and anxious. He disappeared and his number was disconnected. But, my friend's husband, who has become my workin' man for hire is also a wood cutting man. Lucky me! He brought me two cords to add to the one I had left from last year. NOW I feel safe and secure. Like you, I'm going to rely more on wood than gas this winter. More effort....less money....more atmosphere!

  7. I have often heard of crab apples, but I have never tasted or seen one. Judging by your photos I wish I could. Do they taste anything like an apple?
    They are not to be found here in my part of Texas.

  8. Sometimes when our Apple is cranky, we call her Crab Apple. But that's a rare occurence.

  9. I have never seen a crab apple (I don't think) nor tasted the jelly. How fascinating the other side of the world is! Here I am keeping cool under my grass roof and listening with joy to the distant thunder which will bring a welcome shower of spring rain. I am sure it lovely to sit around a fire though. Warm wishes to you and your doggos!

  10. The crab apples I remember were waaay tart, the flesh sort of mealy. Not very pleasant in any case. I bet yours make a lovely jelly though.


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